China to cut Foreigners Some Slack, Will Start Issuing 5-Year Work Permits
China's Ministry of Public Security made an announcement on Thursday that may be considered by foreigners working in the country as good news. The working permit-giving body revealed that any foreign national who has been working in China for a minimum of two uninterrupted years may now apply for a five-year working permit. This, for many, provides relief from the current system which requires yearly permit renewal even when one is tied to a multiple-year contract with a China company.
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According to Shanghaiist, the trial period for the newly proposed system will start later in 2017 in nine China provinces including Wuhan, Hebei, and Beijing. It will also materialize in 11 free port zones of China including the ones in Chongqing, Tianjin, and Henan.
Meanwhile, expats who have been residing in China for more than four years continuously may apply for permanent residence status so long as they meet the requirements such as income tax and salary standing. The details of this second announcement, however, have not yet been divulged to the public.
In January, China also announced that international student graduates with a Master's degree from renowned foreign schools and reputable Chinese universities are now qualified to apply for a Z visa status as soon as they finish their schooling, which ultimately waives the preceding condition for students to have two years of work experience first before they can apply for a Z status.
China has been promoting bold measures lately to attract more globally competitive people to work in the country. In 2016 alone, the permanent residency status of foreigners in China rose by 163 percent more than the previous year, accounting for approximately 1,576 expats gaining China residency.